RTDNA, journalism groups seek meeting with Trump

January 18, 2017 01:00

RTDNA and 60 other journalism organizations have requested a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to discuss access to government.

The coalition sent a letter today to Trump and Pence, asking for a meeting or conference call to discuss:
 
  • the ability of reporters to directly interact with government employees who are subject matter experts, rather than interacting with Public Information Officers (or having all conversations monitored by Public Information Officers);
  • access to the activities of the President;
  • and ensuring that the Federal Freedom of Information Act remains as strong as possible.
“This is an unprecedented time for the American media and, as a consequence, for the American public.  It is imperative that the incoming administration understand the importance of transparency in government and the cooperative spirit needed in working with the journalists who cover it,” said Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director.  “Only then will Americans be fully and fairly informed about the important decisions being made on their behalf.”

This letter is the latest among several that were sent to the Obama administration, since at least 2013, regarding concerns about White House restrictions on photographers, transparency and public information officer restrictions.

The first letter, sent Nov. 21, 2013, addressed concerns regarding White House restrictions on photographers. The next letter, sent July 8, 2014, and a follow-up letter sent Aug. 5, 2014, regarding PIO and transparency issues were met with a response from the White House on Aug. 11, 2014, that the groups found unsatisfactory. This white paper and other articles also provide background on the issue.

“We urge you to publicly affirm your commitment to transparency, to issue an executive order prohibiting the restrictive public information policies that have been the status quo, and to engage in a public discussion with us about the Trump administration’s commitment to the free flow of information from the White House and all federal government, to the American people,” the latest letter states.

The groups hope that together, they and the Trump administration can improve the lines of communication between the White House and the press.

About RTDNA:
RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTDNA members include local and network news executives, news directors, producers, reporters, photographers, editors, multimedia journalists and digital news professionals in broadcasting, cable and digital media, as well as journalism educators and students. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA works to protect the rights of electronic journalists in the courts and legislatures throughout the country, promotes ethical standards in the industry, provides members with training and education and honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Association's members help shape the future of the journalism profession as we protect their interests by advocating on their behalf and lobbying in their interest. We defend the First Amendment, advocate for open government and freedom of information, and promote diversity in newsroom staffing and coverage. To show your support, become a member or give to the Radio Television Digital News Foundation.